Dominic Chasse of St. Dominic Academy controls the puck during the Twin City Thunder tryout camp over the weekend. RAM Sports photography

AUBURN — The Twin City Thunder hosted their first skater tryout this past weekend, and 70 players took part in the three-day event from Friday to Sunday.

The players came from all over North America, from the Lewiston-Auburn area to California and parts in between, looking to make the Thunder’s Tier II and III teams for the upcoming USPHL season.

“For us, this camp was about bringing a lot of guys in here to watch and see if, number one, can they compete in our program and kind of what they can show us on the ice,” Thunder Tier II coach Doug Friedman said. “I think that’s our primary goal, and we are assessing how everybody fits in our program.”

Lewiston High School senior Sam Frechette skates up the ice during the Twin City Thunder tryout camp over the weekend. RAM Sports photography

It was also gave the Thunder a chance to look at players for the upcoming National Collegiate Development Conference (Tier II) draft coming up on May 15, in addition to the teams they will have in the USPHL’s spring and summer showcases. The Thunder will also have tryout camps in Wisconsin and Colorado later this spring and summer.

Appearing at the camp were players on the Tier III Premier League team, such as Cody Doyon (Sabattus), Jeremey Rancourt (Lewiston), Zachary Desmarais, Nick Poirier and Tristan Mock. Also attending were NCDC tenders Rocco Difazio and Martin Moioffer.

“I’ve been skating, working out, trying to keep in shape for this camp, it’s a big deal,” Desmarais said. “I’ve been working hard to make this team.”

The camp also brought out players with L/A Nordiques ties, including Sam Frechette, who spent the past two seasons with the Nordiques. Recent Nordiques draft picks Drew Eid and Arturs Tomsons were also at the Auburn camp this past weekend.

Frechette is keeping his options open for the upcoming season.

“I always want to try to feel out all my options,” Frechette said. “Last year, I tried out for the Thunder for their Tier III team and I went to the Nordiques.

“(I’m just) feeling everything out to see what they have to offer.”

Jaxon Friedman tracks the action during the Twin City Thunder’s tryout camp over the weekend. Friedman played for the Thunder’s Tier III team last season. RAM Sports photography

Frechette, who is 18, has a couple of seasons of junior eligibility left, but Eid, a former Gorham and Kents Hill standout and now a Lewiston resident, is trying to find the best possible place to play for his final year of junior hockey. He is coming off a shoulder injury suffered this past season while playing for the New York Apple Core of the Eastern Hockey League.

“It’s whatever the best fit, whatever the coaching staff, the program thinks that I have the best opportunity to play at the college level,” Eid said. “That’s what it’s all about, advancing to the next level. I am taking it one day at a time and keep making impressions.”

Some local high school standouts that took part in the camp were Dominic Chasse of St. Dom’s, Ben-Lane Robichaud of Edward Little and Issac Dube of Lewiston, who played at the Tier II level with the Valley Jr. Warriors of the Eastern Hockey League’s Premier League.

Chasse practiced with the L/A Nordiques after the high school season was over, and thought doing so helped him prepare for the Thunder camp.

“It was pretty good,” Chasse said. “It was fast-paced, it got me used to that. This is a great group of kids that are trying out. It got me ready for the speed of (a camp like this.)”

Zachary Desmarais goes for the puck during the Twin City Thunder’s tryout camp last weekend. Desmarais was one of the Thunder’s top scorers last year. RAM Sports photography

NCDC tender Lukas Skvarek didn’t attend because he has been competing with Slovakia at the World Under-18 Championships in Sweden the past two weeks. He had a goal in six games in the tournament.

FRIEDMAN DENIES TAKING COLLEGE JOB

There was a report Monday from Mark Divver of the Providence Journal that Doug Friedman would be leaving the Twin City Thunder program for the Johnson and Wales University coaching position. Johnson and Wales is a Division III school in Providence, Rhode Island, that plays in the New England Hockey Conference.

Friedman denied the news on Twitter.

“Hey thanks for the shoutout @MarkDivver, but I am with the Twin City Thunder program,” Friedman said. “Just finished a great weekend of tryouts. #rollthunder”

NORDIQUES EARN NA3HL AWARDS

The L/A Nordiques’ efforts were honored last week when the NA3HL announced league and division awards.

The team took home the Organization of the Year award after reaching the Fraser Cup championship game, which they lost to the Texas Brahams 2-1. The 43 wins this season was the most by an NA3HL team since 2016-17 when the Metro Jets finished a perfect 47-0. The Nordiques were seventh in attendance, averaging 528 fans per game with a total of 12,138 fans going through the gate.

“In year two under the L/A Nordiques umbrella, we were recognized as Organization of the Year, which touches on coaches, players and the fans, the entire being of the organization was recognized with that award,” Cam Robichaud, who coached the team this past season, said. “It’s an honor to receive that.”

Defensemen Cole Ouellette and JP Chauvin both received league honors. Ouellette was named All-NA3HL first team and  Chauvin is on the league’s third team. Ouellette had 16 goals and 71 assists in 44 regular season games. His point and assist totals are new single-season record in all of Tier III junior hockey, according to tier3juniorhockey.com.

Chauvin had 20 goals and 63 assists for 83 points, which is second in Tier III history in a single season. His 63 assists rank him fifth all-time for a single season.

Chauvin finished his career with 39 goals and 110 assists, which is the most career points for a defenseman in the NA3HL, according to Eliteprospects.com. Ouellette is second with 34 goals and 112 assists for 146 points.

Both were selected to the All-Coastal Division team, while Ouellette was also tabbed as the Coastal Division’s MVP and Defenseman of the Year.

Colby Audette was named to the All-NA3HL third team and was chosen as the Coastal Division’s Forward of the Year with 39 goals and 54 assists in 93 points. He was also on the All-Coastal Division team.

“Those guys had great seasons,” Robichaud said. “Colby Audette was named to the All-NA3HL third team … he had a strong season for us. Not only in the Coastal Division, but I think outside the division, in particular with our run at the end, (Ouellette and Chauvin) were the top defensemen in the league.”

FRECHETTE, RIVET HEADING TO NAHL’S 18U TOURNAMENT

On Monday, the NAHL announced the 18U Top Prospects Tournament during the Robertson Cup from May 10-12 in Blaine, Minnesota. The Robertson Cup will crown the NAHL’s league champion.

The 18 Top Prospects Tournament is a separate event that will bring ten 18-and-under teams, including two teams each from the North American Prospects Hockey League and Tier 1 Elite League, one each from the North Amercan 3 Hockey League, Michigan Tier I AAA, Minnesota High School Hockey, Atlantic Youth Hockey League, and a European stars team.

Representing team NA3HL will be Sam Frechette and Alex Rivet, both of Lewiston and the L/A Nordiques.

Frechette had 22 goals and 26 assists for 48 points in 45 regular season games. Rivet made his debut in the playoffs and had 10 goals and an assist in eight games.

Robichaud will be a coach of the NA3HL team.

CANTON CUBS HIRE FORMER QMJHL PLAYER

The Canton Cubs, formerly the Cape Cod Islanders, have hired its GM and head coach after Alex Drulia took the Twin City Thunder’s Premier League head coaching job earlier this month.

The Cubs named Geoff Walker GM and head coach recently. The 31-year-old Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island native spent 2004-2008 in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Gatineau Olympiques and the Prince Edward Rocket. After a 10-year pro career, mostly in the AHL and ECHL, Walker began his junior hockey coaching career this past season with the Hinton Wildcats of the Western States Hockey League.

Goalie Derek Fournier of Bangor guards the net during the Twin City Thunder tryout camp over the weekend. RAM Sports photography